Friday, September 21, 2012

Weil on Attention

I'm grinding it out right now in my classes, and struggling to find time to write, let alone write here. (Family life is busy, too!) I've recently finished a few papers, and am getting back to work on patience. (I'm not sure I ever quite stopped that work, but it feels like it.) In the mean time, for the teacher-readers especially, here's something from Simone Weil:
The poet produces the beautiful by fixing his attention on something real. It is the same with the act of love. To know that this man who is hungry and thirsty really exists as much as I do--that is enough, the rest follows of itself.
     The authentic and pure values--truth, beauty and goodness--in the activity of a human being are the result of one and the same act, a certain application of the full attention to the object.
     Teaching should have no aim but to prepare, by training the attention, for the possibility of such an act.
     All the other advantages of instruction are without interest.

-- Gravity and Grace, p. 119-120.
(See also Weil's "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God")

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